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Old 07-16-2006, 01:47 PM   #1
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Darn - it looks like the Norcold is not cooling well on AC but it is apparently doing much better on LP but still we don't think it is cooling like it should even on LP.

I am learning more about the Norcold than I really want to know, but I suppose it will be easier in the long run to have an intimate awareness of everything in-depth.

Any troubleshooting advice is really appreciated; here is what I know about the problem so far:

>Refrig temp on AC will not pull down lower than about 50.0 degrees according to my wireless thermometer with a setting of "9" for temp

>Thermistor fin temp will not go below 43 degrees while in AC mode (as reported by diagnostic screen #3)

>Diagnostic screens do not report any voltage or AC heater problem

>There does not appear to be any vent blockage - upper or lower

>I haven't checked the flue for crud but the reefer *rarely* operates on propane and it seems to be cooling okay or at least much better on LP

>Jane defrosted the freezer last night even though it didn't have much ice build up

>I have not checked fuses on the board or voltage at both AC heater elements yet - I doubt if it is a fuse problem since diagnostics are reporting okay in and out voltages. I'm leaning toward one of the two heating elements being on the fritz

UPDATE: I just checked the two fuses on the circuit board and they are good. Also measured both AC heaters and the resistance is about 61 ohms which is good. Now I don't have a clue what the trouble is!

While looking around rv.net for some troubleshooting guidance, I stumbled across the service manual for my model of the Norcold (I think it only applies to the four door model, but I'm not sure.) It is the 1200xx and 120x-IMxx models. It is a large Adobe PDF file (5.3 Mb) - might be a good idea to download it if you have that model of Norcold. (I wanted it on my web site so I will know where it is when I need it!)

Go to the RV section of our web site and near the bottom of the RV page is the file.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:47 PM   #2
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Darn - it looks like the Norcold is not cooling well on AC but it is apparently doing much better on LP but still we don't think it is cooling like it should even on LP.

I am learning more about the Norcold than I really want to know, but I suppose it will be easier in the long run to have an intimate awareness of everything in-depth.

Any troubleshooting advice is really appreciated; here is what I know about the problem so far:

>Refrig temp on AC will not pull down lower than about 50.0 degrees according to my wireless thermometer with a setting of "9" for temp

>Thermistor fin temp will not go below 43 degrees while in AC mode (as reported by diagnostic screen #3)

>Diagnostic screens do not report any voltage or AC heater problem

>There does not appear to be any vent blockage - upper or lower

>I haven't checked the flue for crud but the reefer *rarely* operates on propane and it seems to be cooling okay or at least much better on LP

>Jane defrosted the freezer last night even though it didn't have much ice build up

>I have not checked fuses on the board or voltage at both AC heater elements yet - I doubt if it is a fuse problem since diagnostics are reporting okay in and out voltages. I'm leaning toward one of the two heating elements being on the fritz

UPDATE: I just checked the two fuses on the circuit board and they are good. Also measured both AC heaters and the resistance is about 61 ohms which is good. Now I don't have a clue what the trouble is!

While looking around rv.net for some troubleshooting guidance, I stumbled across the service manual for my model of the Norcold (I think it only applies to the four door model, but I'm not sure.) It is the 1200xx and 120x-IMxx models. It is a large Adobe PDF file (5.3 Mb) - might be a good idea to download it if you have that model of Norcold. (I wanted it on my web site so I will know where it is when I need it!)

Go to the RV section of our web site and near the bottom of the RV page is the file.
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Old 07-17-2006, 01:05 AM   #3
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John, Perhaps I can help you with your refrigerator problem. Let me start with a few questions. Was the refrigerator cooling properly before? Was it working properly before Jane defrosted the freezer? What is the outside temperature where you are currently staying? The heating element can be easily checked with a milti meter. What is the voltage getting to the element? Did you disconnect the wires and check continunity? Is there any chance that the weather strip seal has been effected and is not making full contact all the way around when the door is closed?
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Old 07-17-2006, 01:52 AM   #4
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I had the same problem, my 2004 unit would not cool below 50 deg. I took it to travel Country RV in Grovetown Ga. They replaced all electronics and still had the problem. We replaced the cooling unit and problem is solved. I can cool to 35 deg now. Travel Country did a great job, you cant tell that the cooling unit has been replaced. Still looks new.
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:36 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BradandJaneen:
John, Perhaps I can help you with your refrigerator problem. Let me start with a few questions. Was the refrigerator cooling properly before? Was it working properly before Jane defrosted the freezer? What is the outside temperature where you are currently staying? The heating element can be easily checked with a milti meter. What is the voltage getting to the element? Did you disconnect the wires and check continunity? Is there any chance that the weather strip seal has been effected and is not making full contact all the way around when the door is closed? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
-The fridge wasn't cooling well when Jane defrosted the freezer

-We're in Anchorage and the outside temps are in the 50s to low 60s

-Both heating elements check okay with an ohmeter (~62 ohms) I didn't check voltage but there is a problem on LP as well so I don't think it is a heater problem

-We checked the gaskets with the 'dollar bill' test and they seem to be okay

We left the reefer on a setting of 7 last night and the best it could cool to is 39.2 degrees and the freezer is at about 22 degrees (this is while running on propane)

I'm calling Norcold this morning right after breakfast to get their take on this situation. It looks like we will be cancelling our Denali reservations afterall to hang around here
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:07 AM   #6
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John, I cant help with the frig, But you did not miss anything on the Denalie school bus
ride, I did see three bears, and a had full of ground squirrels. "GOLDIELOCKS was on
vacation."

DO NOT, DO NOT miss the Jet-boat ride up the SMALL CREEK, (Maybe 6" of water)They
take you to a OLD gold mining camp, that was so-so, but the boat ride and the BELLE
STARR looking gal with the hog-leg---PRICELESS The locals call it MINEING THE TOUREST!
ENJOY!!!TENN.
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:25 AM   #7
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John,

A couple thoughts to check on the fridge

1) The first is a long shot and would only apply if you've got the wood panel on the door of the fridge. If you do, when closing the door, try giving a slight push to the bottom edge of the door. Norcold told me that they have seen circumstances where the wood panel has warped slightly due to humidity and tended to prevent the seal from properly sealing at the bottom edge of the door.

I did see your update where you checked the seals, but might be worth being sure the door is pressed shut on the side farthest from the latch.

2) Since the fridges operate on absorption technology and their performance is based on how well they can dissipate heat from the cooling unit, it's worth checking out the area on the back of the refrigerator for obstructions. Pure convection is the only thing that eliminates heat from the cooling unit. Cooler air is to be drawn into the vent on the outside of the RV and becomes heated. This heated air rises and escapes out the roof vent of the RV. Since convection moves the air very slowly, any obstruction to the airflow will affect performance.

If you feel comfortable on the roof, I'd suggest removing the 4 screws holding the access cover on the roof and shining a flashlight down the back area of the fridge. You should look for leaves, dislodged insulation, or any material that may be impeding the flow of air.

I know the odds of having a small fan handy in the middle of Alaska aren't good but if you manage to find someway to increase the airflow rising through the back of the fridge, it would be interesting to see of you get increased cooling.

Several manufacturers make fridge vent fans designed to operate by thermostat when the temperature behind the fridge reaches a certain level. Normally they should not be required, but if air flow is restricted due to blockage or even perhaps wind conditions, they would help. Makers of the fridge vent fans advertise 40% increase in cooling capacity.

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Old 07-17-2006, 08:53 AM   #8
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Update:

Talked to Norcold and to the local Winniebago dealer in Anchorage this morning and it doesn't sound good

I have checked everything that can be checked apparently. Joe - we are a side wall vent model so there is not the roof vent to deal with.

The service writer thinks it is probably the cooling unit itself after I described the symptions and what I have checked. He thinks the cooling unit is "limping along."

We now have a service appointment for July 26; instead of hanging around Anchorage for nine days we have decided to leave for Denali today as planned and take our chances with the reefer. It could go belly-up completely in which case we lose 200-300 bucks worth of food (we won't be able to buy a cooler and dry ice in Denali!) If it does go completely, we will just have to pack up and leave for Anchorage.
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:13 AM   #9
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John,

Our refrigerator cooling unit has a small fan or fans to aid air flow through it because the side vents don't support as good a draft as a top exhaust vent would. I can hear the fans when they run.

Are your fans running?

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Old 07-17-2006, 04:20 PM   #10
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Terry - yes they are. I now know more about my Norcold than I really wanted to know

The service writer asked me if I heard a 'gurgling' sound from the back of the unit or saw any green staining (was it green he said?) on the back of the unit and I replied I didn't think so. When I got back to the coach I did a sniff test for ammonia (no smell) and did not see any staining or hear any gurgling. Whatever... It still isn't working properly and it's under warranty
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Old 07-17-2006, 04:38 PM   #11
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I don't know what model you have, but mine's a 1201 LRIM, 4 door model. The spec calls for the thermistor (mine's a long wire) to be on fin 1 or 2. (If it's a short thermistor wire, fin 17). Fins are numbered rite to left, looking at fridge.

Norcold probably told you this already. Anyway, sounds like your fridge is in deep doo-doo.

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Old 07-17-2006, 06:55 PM   #12
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John have you tried the Norcold reset? Go to find type "norcold reset" take off check and read the threads, give it a try.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:15 AM   #13
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Glad you found the link for your fridge. For those who need or want service manuals for their fridge, furnace and a few other items try this link; Bryant RV. Go to the service documents section of the site. Chris Bryant has complete service manuals posted there in Adobe Acrobat format. Scroll down the list to find your brand and model. Bryant is a frequent contributor on the RV.net site and runs an rv service shop in Florida.
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Old 07-18-2006, 07:16 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by "007":
John have you tried the Norcold reset? Go to find type "norcold reset" take off check and read the threads, give it a try. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>I don't think a reset is indicated since there are no 'codes' set in the diagnostic controller. The service manual I now have on my web site (from Bryant RV BTW) has the electronics reset procedure. I think I'm going to leave well enough alone until we get back to Anchorage for service. Fortunately with a temp setting of 9 and a pretty cool night here in Denali (it's 52 degrees at 8 am) the fridge is 39.6 and the freezer got down to 12 degrees.

Tom - funny thing about Bryant RV - they are in DeLand where we lived for the last 10 years and ironically not too far from our old house. It was a really useful thing for him to put up the service manuals on his site. (However Norcold says their warranty might be voided by owners messing with the system.)

Thanks everybody for the suggestions!
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:48 PM   #15
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Hi John,
I got to ask, you weren't parked somewhere for a few hours way out of level? From what I've read, this causes problems that may (read as ˜probably not') be cured by running the refrigerator while driving (sloshing around) to get the ammonia cycle back into balance. Please, someone correct me if this is more rumor than fact.
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Old 07-19-2006, 01:58 AM   #16
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John, sounds like the #9 setting might get the job done. I know you will be glad when the 26th rolls around. Enjoy Denali and Good Miles. Jim
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:51 AM   #17
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We had problems with our 4 door when we first got the unit. Mainly with the freezer. One day the ice cream would be hard, then a few days later soft. Tried all the tests & everything check OK. The problem with these rv refrigerators, is the poor air cirulation. No fan to push the cold air around. Therefore a person has to make there is room for the cold air to cirulate. The wife is more careful how she puts things in the refrigerators & if nonfrozen foods are put into the freezer, it will bring up the temperature. Having said all that, ours has worked good since we made food arrangement changes.
Also, in my 2001 I did have the refrigerator go bad. Both the freezer & refrigerator part would not get down to the right temp. It would come & go & then finally quit. Just about the whole refrigerator had to be replaced!
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Old 07-19-2006, 07:43 AM   #18
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John, just check to see if your piping in rear of frig is hot if they are you should hear you cooling fans running to cool them down, you have a kitchen slide I beleive and these fans are more important with no vent on roof.
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Old 07-19-2006, 07:44 AM   #19
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MrTransistor:
Hi John,
I got to ask, you weren't parked somewhere for a few hours way out of level? From what I've read, this causes problems that may (read as ˜probably not') be cured by running the refrigerator while driving (sloshing around) to get the ammonia cycle back into balance. Please, someone correct me if this is more rumor than fact. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Mark - we have been real careful about out of level situations. We always check the circular bubble we keep in the bottom of the reefer if we think it might not be good operating situation.

I have heard that the shaking around does help but apparently if it has a serious problem the fix is replacement of the entire cooling system.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">John, just check to see if your piping in rear of frig is hot if they are you should hear you cooling fans running to cool them down, you have a kitchen slide I beleive and these fans are more important with no vent on roof. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>007 - fans are running!
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Old 07-19-2006, 09:16 AM   #20
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One last thing the clip holding your senser on cooling fins inside refer compartment is 3/4 up the fin. Thats where mine is and temp set to 6 and refer is plenty cold in this 90+ heat. Haven't recalled this on thread.
Just saw post you can disreguard but check anyway.
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